the swadeshi movement & its history

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  • 8/10/2019 The Swadeshi Movement & Its History


    The Swadeshi movement, part of theIndian independence movementand the

    developingIndian nationalism,was an economic strategy aimed at removing theBritish

    Empirefrom power and improving economic conditions inIndiaby following the principles

    of swadeshi(self-sufficiency;Hindi:svad), which had some success. Strategies of the

    Swadeshi movement involved boycotting British products and the revival of domestic products

    and production processes. It was strongest in Bengal and was also called vandemataram


    The Swadeshi movement started with the partition ofBengalby theViceroy of India,Lord

    Curzon,1905 and continued up to 1911.[1]It was the most successful of the pre-Gandhian

    movements. Its chief architects wereAurobindo Ghosh,Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak,Bipin

    Chandra PalandLala Lajpat Rai,V. O. Chidambaram Pillai.Swadeshi, as a strategy, was a key

    focus ofMahatma Gandhi,who described it as the soul ofSwaraj(self rule). Gandhi, at the time

    of the actual movement, remained loyal to theBritish Crown.


    During 1900, Bengal had become the nerve centre for Indian nationalism. At that time it was the

    biggest province of British India and included parts of Bihar and Orissa. To weaken it, Lord

    Curzon (18991905) the Viceroy of India, proposed partition of Bengal. The official reason was

    stated as administrative inconvenience due to the size of Bengal. But partition itself was based

    on a religious and political agenda. Bengal was to be divided into two regions i.e.East

    BengalandAssamout of the rest of Bengal. Thus to reduce the nationalist movement in Bengal

    and thereby in the entire country, Bengal partition was to take place on 16 October 1905.

    H. H. Riseley, home secretary to the government of India, stated on 6 December 1904: "Bengal

    united is a power; Bengal divided will pull in several different ways. That is what Congress

    leaders feel; their apprehensions are perfectly correct and they form one of the great merits of

    the scheme... in this scheme... one of our main objects is to split up and thereby weaken a solid

    body of opponents to our rule".

    So the British tried to curb Bengali influence on the nationalist movement and also introduced a

    new form of division based on religion to create challenges for theIndian National Congress,

    which was slowly becoming the main opponent to British rule.

    But the Indian nationalists saw the design behind partition and condemned it unanimously,

    starting the anti-partition and the Swadeshi movements. The Swadeshi movement was also

    known as Vandemataram movement in deltaic Andhra Pradesh.